Since having made my first investment in home medical apparatus, the floodgates have opened. First, a blood pressure monitor, now an oral irrigator.
Oral irrigator? Water flosser; water pick. Apparently, like all the best criminals, it goes by several names. My dentist had suggested the purchase to me.
“A Christmas present to yourself,” his assistant had joked. Well, I suppose it beats socks.
In the end, it was January resolutions which saw me buying myself an oral irrigator; thought it might be a little less Texas Chainsaw Massacre than the TePe brushes I had been previously using. How wrong could I be?
And yet, I didn’t go into my purchase blind. Unusually for me, I even watched a couple of YouTube tutorials on the subject. One, I was amused to view, described the irrigator as ‘portable’; ideal for holidays. ‘Portable’ would not have been the first adjective that sprung to mind; ‘bulky’ would have been ahead of it in the queue.
Nevertheless, the videos were encouraging. I emerged from them holding the misguided belief that use of an oral irrigator would not be beyond either my mental or my motor capabilities.
Purchased online, when my irrigator arrived I was pleased to discover that it came with several changes of ‘nozzle’; a charging cable––although no charger; and a surprisingly comprehensive printed instructions manual. Once again, unusually for me, I decided to read this before blundering straight in. I was amused at the warning not to use the irrigator on any other body parts other than the teeth; it particularly specified avoiding ears and eyes––for some reason, they hadn’t been the ‘other body parts’, which had instantly leapt to mind.
For some reason, once my irrigator was assembled––water tank and rotary nozzle attached––it reminded me of a triffid. There was something latently menacing about it, although I could not quite put my finger on why I should experience this sensation. Nevertheless, in good faith and after a four-hour charging delay, I was all set for my first irrigation. I filled the water tank with warm water as instructed and retired to the bathroom. The device had several power settings. At first, I selected ‘normal’; eventually opting for ‘low’ given my novice irrigation status. I inserted the nozzle into the back of my mouth and pressed the ‘ON’ button.
Instantly, it was as though a tsunami had hit my bathroom. The bathroom mirror was obscured in a violent hail of spray like the worst North Sea crossing; water flooded from my mouth in all directions as though I was a gargoyle on an ornamental Tivoli fountain. I tried to close my mouth to inhibit the flow, but this only seemed to increase its force. I was powerless against the brutal torrent. Little Dutch boys and thumbs came to mind. Persevering, I moved the waterjet onto another tooth, felt a sharp stab of pain, and then watched entranced as the Bellagio cascade emerging from my mouth turned a subtle shade of red, like a Vegas sunset.
By the time I had managed to turn the machine off, my basin, mirror and entire body resembled something approaching a crime scene. If this was low power, God knows what normal must be like; ‘high’ might as well be relabelled ‘trepanning’.
Like the blood pressure monitor before it, the oral irrigator was quickly repackaged, to be tucked away in the furthest corner of my bathroom cabinet, from where its rehabilitation will be slow and protracted.
So, it’s back to the TePe wire scraping for me, which if no less bloody, has the one advantage that it is definitely more ‘portable’.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree fails to get to grips with bathroom technology.
Did you know that Simon Turner-Tree has written This Pedestrian Life and Watching Life Pass Me By?